FOB Courage offers state-of-the-art training for combat medics
March 27, 2009
- FOB Courage is the second and larger of two FOBs on Camp Bullis.
- These Soldier medics have participated in combat operations and saved countless lives in Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan.
A new forward operating base that will offer realistic, state-of-the-art training for combat medics was unveiled March 20 at the Soldier Medic Training Site on Camp Bullis during a ribbon-cutting ceremony hosted by the 232nd Medical Battalion.
FOB Courage is the second and larger of two FOBs on Camp Bullis.
"FOB Courage was designed and built to represent as accurately as possible forward operating bases throughout the world today, and to provide Soldiers a true and accurate representation of what life is like in today's areas of operation," said Master Sgt. James Kinser, 232nd Medical Battalion.
"The Soldier Medic Training Site was established in 1998 to provide a [field training exercise] facility to conduct realistic, hands-on, scenario-based training," Kinser said. "Since its inception there have been over 183,000 Soldier medics pass through here.
These Soldier medics have participated in combat operations and saved countless lives in Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan.
"Today we begin a new era in turning our new young Soldiers into Soldier medics. The addition of FOB Courage to the Soldier Medic Training Site gives us the ability to prepare our Soldiers for combat like never before," he said.
Using pyrotechnics, Soldiers from C Company, 232nd Med. Bn. provided a demonstration of a simulated combat scenario showcasing the skills they learn at the Soldier Medic Training Site.
"What you have witnessed today is just a small taste of the scenarios we can now put medics through that we couldn't before. Understand that this FOB is not designed to train Soldiers on how to protect or secure a FOB, rather it is a work in progress that allows us to simulate the very real situations faced by medics every day in places like Iraq and Afghanistan," said Lt. Col. John Lamoureux, commander, 232nd Med. Bn.
The training scenarios are based on lessons learned from today's battlefields and include operations based both inside and outside the FOB. The scenarios include operating a battalion aid station, dismounted combat patrols, mounted patrols, convoy operations, FOB security and reacting to both direct and indirect attacks, said Kinser.
"Remember our goal is to enable that medic who steps out of the back of a Stryker under fire, three or four months from now, to feel confident in their ability to save lives on the battlefield," said Lt. Col. Paul Mayer, director of Combat Medic Training.
Many combat medics deploy within six months of graduation from the 68W Combat Medic Training course.
Commanding General Maj. Gen. Russell Czerw, Fort Sam Houston and Army Medical Department Center and School, addressed the Soldiers saying, "This base and this training facility will allow you to train under conditions that very much simulate what you are going to see on the battlefield. You will train in the environment and the conditions of stress; and that is going to help you prepare to be the best Soldier medics you can possibly be, because you have an obligation. That obligation is to take care of our most precious resource, our Soldiers."
Czerw thanked everyone who had a part in building FOB Courage, the instructors, both military and civilian; the command personnel; the Soldier medics; and Creative Building Products, the contractors who built the training facility.
Czerw then presented Gerard Muegerl and J.C. Brown from Creative Building Products with certificates of appreciation for assisting with the creation and building of FOB Courage.
Soldiers and distinguished guests, including retired Brig. Gen. Daniel Perugini, toured the facility after the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
FOB Courage consists of 460 "Houston" barricades equaling about 3,470 linear feet, enclosing about 25 acres; nine guard towers; five bunkered checkpoints; eight 50-man personnel bunkers; two vehicle entry points and three personnel entry points.
Twelve Alaska Structure sleeping tents hold 30 Soldiers each. The tents are heated and cooled, and have energy-efficient lights.
FOB Courage also houses the Soldier Medic Training Site headquarters, a company operations area, mock training area, hand wash stations, showers and latrines, weapons cleaning area and storage facilities.